COMMUNISTS: Make-Believe Ballroom

On Manhattan's lower East Side, in a hired hall where such jazzmen as "Wild Bill" Davison and Max Kaminsky blow their horns, the leaders of the U.S. Communist Party assembled last week to tootle their stuck whistles. It was the party's 15th biennial convention. There were placards to set the theme. "Hail the Socialist Soviet Union, Guardian of World Peace," said one. "Seat Red China in the U.N." "Mail Birthday Greetings to Our Leader, William Z. Foster."

Even as Communist Party conventions go, it was a dismal affair. The party's secretary general, mouthy Eugene Dennis, was unavoidably detained—by the bars...

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